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U.S. and allies hit Belarus with new sanctions over human rights abuses

By Simon Druker
U.S. and allies hit Belarus with new sanctions over human rights abuses
On Thursday, the United States joined Canada, the United Kingdom and European Union in enacting new sanctions against Belarus over human rights abuses and orchestrating irregular migration. File Photo by Leonid Scheglov/Belta/EPA-EFE

Dec. 2 (UPI) -- The United States joined Canada, the United Kingdom and European Union on Thursday, enacting new sanctions against Belarus over ongoing human rights abuses and inhumane exploitation of vulnerable people.

The new sanctions are also in response to the migrant crisis along the country's border with Poland.

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Washington joined its allies in the coordinated action against Belarus, targeting specific individuals and entities.

The Treasury Department says it has designated 20 individuals, 12 entities and identified three aircraft as blocked property.

A joint statement demanded the Belarusian government "immediately and completely halt its orchestrating of irregular migration across its borders with the EU."

Longtime President Alexander Lukashenko faces accusations of perpetuating the migrant crisis at the EU border.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Belarus of using "innocent migrants as a political weapon, as an effort at destabilization."

Lukashenko was re-elected in August 2020 in elections widely believed to be fraudulent by the international community. Thursday's news represents the fifth round of sanctions against the country.

"The United States stands alongside its international partners and allies in imposing costs on the Lukashenka regime for its deplorable behavior, including migrant smuggling. Treasury will continue to work with the international community to address the Lukashenka regime's repression, corruption, and flaunting of internationally recognized human rights," said Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control Andrea Gacki.

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